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Radical Shifts in Energy Policies Ignite Global Green Economy

Energy
Radical Shifts in Energy Policies Ignite Global Green Economy

United Nations Environment Programme

A new partnership launched today by four United Nations (UN) agencies aims to support 30 countries over the next seven years in building national green economy strategies that will generate new jobs and skills, promote clean technologies, and reduce environmental risks and poverty.

The new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), is a response to the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), The Future We Want, which recognizes the green economy as a vehicle for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Governments at Rio+20 called on UN agencies to support countries interested in accelerating their transition to an inclusive green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

The four UN agencies—United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)—will provide a comprehensive suite of green economy services that will enable countries to transform their national economic structures to meet the growing demands and challenges of the 21st century.

“This is yet another example of how UNEP with partners is implementing the outcomes of Rio+20. The Partnership for Action on Green Economy will work with countries to catalyze change at the national level, assisting  them with targeted economic and policy instruments and training that will accelerate their green economy transition across sectors ranging from clean energy to sustainable agriculture,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. “With the support of PAGE, developing countries in particular can put in place the policies needed to reap the economic and environmental benefits of an inclusive, resource-efficient, low-carbon pathway, and avoid the risks and shocks of carbon-intensive infrastructures.”

From Barbados to Mexico and Nepal to South Africa, many countries are already advancing green initiatives that will contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future.

Germany, Kenya and the Republic of Korea, among other states, have set out radical changes in their energy policies to harness the power of renewables, and reinvest in their natural capital. Lebanon and Madagascar are working to rebuild their agro-industries, while other countries—like Peru and Senegal—are focused on developing more capacity and green jobs.  

As The Future We Want recommends, PAGE will encourage “the implementation of green economy policies by countries that seek to apply them for the transition towards sustainable development as a common undertaking.” 

More specifically, PAGE will build enabling conditions in participating countries by shifting investment and policies towards the creation of a new generation of assets, such as clean technologies, resource efficient infrastructure, well-functioning ecosystems, green skilled labor and good governance.

“ILO estimates that at least half of the global workforce—or 1.5 billion people—could be affected in some way by the transition to a green economy,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “PAGE aims to embed the right policies and opportunities at the national level as countries move forward with their inclusive green economy plans, and thus ensure this transition creates more and better jobs and benefits all of society.”

“Promoting green and clean new industries, and helping existing industries become more resource-efficient, will be a key focus of the partnership,” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO.  “While business and industry should be aligned with national green economy efforts, governments need to set the parameters in order for business to thrive.”

“Advancing green economies in the context of poverty eradication creates unprecedented needs and opportunities for learning and skills development,’ said Sally Fegan-Wyles, Director ad Interim of UNITAR. “PAGE addresses this challenge, by offering a suite of learning programmes and by strengthening capacities of national research and training institutions to ensure sustainability.”

The four agencies have previously undertaken joint green initiatives. However, this is the first time that all four partners have come together to coordinate their support, expertise and resources at the national level. During the first two years of the partnership, PAGE will focus on seven pilot countries, yet to be named, and scale up this support to a total of 30 countries by 2020.  

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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